Sportsbooks in ‘Wait-and-See Mode’ After NBA Boycotts

Posted on: August 27, 2020, 07:16h. 

Last updated on: August 27, 2020, 11:01h.

The NBA playoffs came to an abrupt halt on Wednesday night, as the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their game against the Orlando Magic. The rest of the teams scheduled to play followed suit. Now, Thursday’s games are in jeopardy, and there’s a possibility a champion won’t be crowned for the first time in the league’s 74-year existence.

LeBron James
LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly voted not to finish the season in the wake of the shooting of a black man by Kenosha, Wis., police. (Image: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

By Thursday morning, PointsBet had taken the day’s games off the board.

“Really just in a wait-and-see mode. Need some clarity before opening,” PointsBet’s director of communications, Patrick Eichner, told via e-mail.

What’s Next?

Three games are scheduled for Thursday in the NBA’s Orlando, Fla., bubble: Denver Nuggets against the Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics against the Toronto Raptors, and Los Angeles Clippers against the Dallas Mavericks. As of Thursday morning, BetMGM, DraftKings, and other sportsbooks were accepting bets on those games.

Nothing is changing at the moment,” Kevin Hennessy, FanDuel’s director of publicity, told via e-mail. “We don’t do anything until things are official from the leagues.”

With Wednesday’s games postponed, players gathered to discuss what comes next following the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by police in Kenosha, Wis. – an incident coming three months after a Minneapolis police officer killed another Black man, George Floyd. Both incidents sparked outrage, violence, and intense conversations.

NBA teams reportedly voted whether or not to continue the season. According to The Athletic, players from the Lakers and Clippers – two of the betting favorites to win the championship – voted to end the season. When asked how the season could go on without those powerhouses, Lakers megastar LeBron James left the meeting and the rest of the Lakers and Clippers followed.

Asked what would happen to those who bet on the Lakers or Clippers to win the championship if those teams dropped out of the playoffs but the postseason continued, Eichner said, “Honestly, am not sure – a lot for the team to work through – sure they are making contingency plans now.”

In the latest odds from the Westgate SuperBook, the three teams central to Wednesday’s news – the Bucks, Lakers and Clippers – are the favorites to win the championship at 3/1. The Lakers entered the playoffs as the outright favorite.

Impact on Sportsbooks

The Bucks’ decision trickled into other sports. Milwaukee’s other professional team, baseball’s Brewers, didn’t play their game against the Cincinnati Reds. The teams agreed to not play on Wednesday and to make it up with a Thursday doubleheader. Two other Major League Baseball games, as well as the full slates of WNBA and MLS games, were postponed.

As reported by, Wednesday’s postponements had an immediate impact on sportsbooks that took action on the games.

BetRivers, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet announced online they would void all bets made on the NBA games. However, not all sportsbooks voided the bets because of the postponements. USBookmaking, which operates sportsbooks for the Isleta Resort Casino in New Mexico, and Sky Ute Casino Resort in Colorado will honor the bets regardless of the day the games are played.

“We fully support our players and the decision they made,” the Bucks said in a statement signed by owners Marc Lasry, Wes Edens, and Jamie Dinan. “Although we did not know beforehand, we would have wholeheartedly agreed with them. The only way to bring about change is to shine a light on the racial injustices that are happening in front of us. Our players have done that, and we will continue to stand alongside them and demand accountability and change.”